Greg Rodgers is a freelance writer and photographer from Kentucky. He's been spanning all things Asia for mmsanotherstage2019.com because 2010.

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Honorifics in the Japanese Language

Just as you more than likely wouldn't offer a casual “hey man, what's up?” to your ceo or one elderly person, Japanese greetings come in differing levels of formality relying on the quantity of respect you great to demonstrate.


Japanese society is steeped in honorific traditions and also hierarchies relying on age, society status, and relation. Even husbands and wives usage honorifics once speaking to each other.


Greetings in Japanese and also bowing etiquette are all a part of a complex system that uses the rule of saving face. You should always strive to prevent accidentally awkward or demoting someone in a way that reasons them come "lose face."


Although utilizing the not correct honorific deserve to be a serious faux pas, fortunately, over there is an easy default to use once not sure. Adding "-san" to the end of a surname (first or last) is generally acceptable for any gender in both formal and informal situations, assuming who is approximately your same in age and also status. The English equivalent can be "Mr." or "Mrs. / Ms."


how to speak Hello in Japanese

Konnichiwa (pronounced: “kon-nee-chee-wah”) is the basic means to say hello in Japanese; however, that is mainly heard in the afternoon. Konnichiwa is utilized as a respectful-yet-generic method to speak hello come pretty much anyone, friend or otherwise.


Konnichiwa to be once component of a greeting sentence (today is…); however, its use has actually transformed the expression in modern-day times as a shortened method to merely say hello. The English equivalent can perhaps be similar to speak "good day" no issue the yes, really time of day.


basic Japanese Greetings

Although friend can acquire by v the straightforward greeting of konnichiwa, simply as once saying hello in Malay, Japanese world are more likely to use different greetings based upon the time of day. Holidays and special occasions such as birthdays have actually their own set of greetings.


Good morning: Ohayou gozaimasu (pronounced: "oh-hi-oh goh-zai-mas") The greeting can be to reduce by simply saying ohayou (sounds choose the means to express the U.S. State of Ohio), however, this is very informal, lot as friend would market a simple “morning” to a friend.Good afternoon: Konnichiwa (pronounced: "kon-nee-chee-wah")Good evening: Konbanwa (pronounced: "kon-bahn-wah")Good night: Oyasumi nasai (pronounced: "oy-yah-sue-mee nah-sigh")

Note: Although not tonal, the Japanese language does make use of a key accent system. Native are spoken with different pitches depending upon the region. The Tokyo interval is taken into consideration Standard Japanese and also is the one you need to use for learning pronunciations. However don't suppose words you've learned come sound the exact same in various parts the the country!


asking "How are You?" in Japanese

The formal and polite means to questioning “how space you doing?” in Japanese is v o-genki desu ka? (pronounced: "oh-gain-kee des-kah"). The "u" at the finish of desu is silent.


To reply politely the you room doing fine, use watashi wa genki desu (pronounced: wah-tah-shee wah gain-kee des). Alternatively, you have the right to just to speak genki desu (pronounced: gain-kee des). Monitor both replies v arigato (pronounced: "ar-ee-gah-toh"), which way “thanks.” speak arigato! through enthusiasm and also like you average it.


What's up? Nannika atta (pronounced: "nah-nee-kah-tah")What's new? Kawatta koto aru (pronounced: "ka-wah-tah koto ar-ew")How is everything? Dou shiteru (pronounced: "doh-stair-ew")

An informal, casual reply to a friend can be aikawarazu desu (pronounced: "eye-kah-wah-raz des") or “same as usual.” The cool kids love this one.


Bowing in Japan

Although knowing exactly how to to speak hello in Japanese is mainly straightforward, the ins and outs that bowing have the right to be bewildering at first to Westerners. Don"t it is in surprised if your brand-new Japanese friend uses a handshake to save you the potential embarrassment of not knowing exactly how to bow.


If you uncover yourself in a officially occasion whereby bows room exchanged — don't panic! First, remember the Japanese human being don't really intend Westerners to have a in-depth knowledge of your customs and etiquette. They will certainly be pleasantly surprised if you show some social knowledge. In a pinch, a casual nod that the head will certainly suffice in ar of a bow if you're completely frozen!


Regardless, to display respect, you have to do other to identify someone's bow. Give it a shot!


exactly how to Bow in Japan

Men bow through their arms straight, hand at their sides or follow me the legs, fingers straight. Women frequently bow with their hands clasped in prior of them.


Keep your ago straight, and also bend at the waist through your eye downward. The longer and also deeper the bow, the an ext respect shown. Constantly bow deeper come elders and people in location of authority. If unsure, simply maintain your bow slightly longer and also deeper 보다 the one friend received.


A casual bow is composed of bending roughly 15 degrees at the waist. A bow to strangers or to thank someone would certainly go to approximately 30 degrees. The most formal bow to display apology or excessive respect needs bending to approximately 45 degrees, where you are looking totally at your shoes.


Tip: unless you're a martial artist squaring up versus an opponent, don't maintain eye call as girlfriend bow! This have the right to be viewed as an plot of mistrust or also aggression.


In a official greeting, sometimes bows are exchanged over and also over; you might wonder when it's for sure to no return the last bow! every consecutive bow need to be quicker and less deep 보다 the last until both parties pertained to the conclusion that enough respect has been shown.


Sometimes a bow is coupled with a Western-style handshake — act both in ~ the exact same time have the right to be awkward! If you're in a tight an are or was standing close ~ shaking hands, turn slightly to the left so the you don't bump heads.

See more: What Kind Of Pronoun Is Everyone A Pronoun Or Noun? Everyone, Everybody, Everything, Everywhere


After all the bows and greetings have been exchanged, you may be offered a service card. Receive the card v both hands, organize at the corners, check out it carefully, and also treat it through the utmost respect! Jamming someone's card into your back pocket is a significant no-no in Japanese company etiquette.


saying "Cheers" in Japanese

Now that you know just how to to speak hello in Japanese, you'll desire to know exactly how to to speak "cheers" for once your newly met friends want to go for a drink. Japanese drinking etiquette is a study every one of its own, but here space the two most vital things come know: